Label Made Me Buy It; From Aunt Jemima to Zonkers

Overview

Smoking chimneys, Aunt Jemima, streamlined trains, and Trojans have all decorated labels to help sell everything from soup to cigars. More than 300 striking labels feature these images and more—from bathing beauties and cherubic babies to Abraham Lincoln and Peter Pan.

When Ralph and Terry Kovel started collecting labels, they learned that every label is an ad and a mystery. A label is designed to catch your eye, entice you to buy, tell you ...
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1998 Hard cover Illustrated. New in new dust jacket. Absolutely new! Great for collectors and graphic artists. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 224 p. Contains: Illustrations. ... Audience: General/trade. Read more Show Less

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Hardcover New Syndicated columnists Ralph and Terry Kovel are back with a visually stunning and highly informative full-color book on the art of collecting antique labels, some ... of today's most popular and valuable collectibles. 322 color illustrations. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Smoking chimneys, Aunt Jemima, streamlined trains, and Trojans have all decorated labels to help sell everything from soup to cigars. More than 300 striking labels feature these images and more—from bathing beauties and cherubic babies to Abraham Lincoln and Peter Pan.

When Ralph and Terry Kovel started collecting labels, they learned that every label is an ad and a mystery. A label is designed to catch your eye, entice you to buy, tell you what the product is, why it's wonderful, and even if it's good for you. But if you learn to read clues on a label, it can tell you much more—who made the product, when it was made, and the consumer laws that governed its packaging, as well as the fashions, hairstyles, humor, prejudices, pleasures, and political ideals of the past.

The Label Made Me Buy It shows you the clues to look for. Learn the history of brands and companies, trace the methods used by label lithographers, and discover the romance and ingenuity of label designers. You'll also find out what "4011" means on a banana sticker, why grocery boxes are seldom black, and why a grape label picturing a tiger had to explain that the crate did not hold tiger meat.

The labels in this book range from salmon and tomato labels of the 1860s to frozen pie labels from the 1970s. The products include tobacco, citrus fruit, candy, firecrackers, fabrics, canned goods, and condoms. Many show mouthwatering images of the foods we love or emotional representations of the childhood we remember.

Label collecting has become a hobby of interest not only to collectors, but also artists and historians. Tobacco, citrus fruit, and food labels, firecracker packages,and product stickers are eagerly bought, sold, and traded through organized clubs, auctions, shows, and the internet.

This book will help historians understand why a label featured Chief Red Cloud, Joe Cannon, or Penrod—all well-known figures in their day. Old-fashioned food names like "shoepeg corn" or "telephone peas" are explained. An extensive index as well as the locations and working dates of lithographers and food companies are provided.
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Editorial Reviews

Joe Gustaitis
[Ralph and Terry Kovel's] book is an effective introduction for anyone tempted to enter the field... the book is simply gorgeous, with brilliant colors and detailed drawing. That alone will inspire many readers to further explore this engaging and edifying subject.
American History Magazine
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780609601686
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/27/1998
  • Pages: 214
  • Product dimensions: 8.45 (w) x 10.31 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Meet the Author

Ralph and Terry Kovel
Ralph and Terry Kovel are the best-known writers on antiques and collectibles in America. They have written more than 75 books, including the annual Kovels' Antiques & Collectibles Price List. Their national newsletter, Kovels on Antiques and Collectibles, has over 150,000 subscribers.  The Kovels also write columns for House Beautiful and 150 newspapers, publish articles, and appear on television and radio talk shows.

Biography

Ralph and Terry Kovel embarked on their career as antiquing gurus while trying to furnish their first apartment on a budget, according to a newspaper bio. "Neither of us was trained in art, antiques or writing," Terry remembers. "We came from nowheresville as far as the experts were concerned. Maybe that's why we can write what we write, because we think like beginners and write in plain language."

They published their first guide, the Dictionary of Marks: Pottery and Porcelain in 1953. The first edition of Kovels' Antiques & Collectibles, published in 1968, was the first commercially published book to be sold in bookstores that was written and printed on a computer.

Since then, the Kovels have steadily expanded their reach as foremost authorities on old stuff of all kinds. The Kovels have been on television since their 1969 public-television series Know Your Antiques. Their current television program, the award-winning Flea Market Finds with the Kovels, begans its second season on HGTV (Home and Garden Television) in the fall of 2002. They also have a syndicated newspaper column.

Since 1974 the Kovels have published a national subscription-only newsletter, Kovels on Antiques and Collectibles, which has more than 150,000 subscribers in the United States and Canada.

The Kovels are obsessive collectors, and they still make room for new "finds" in their antiques-filled home in Ohio. Their most recent purchase: an 1880s shoeshine stand. They still haven't figured out where they'll put that one. The Kovels home also includes a library filled with 18,000 books about antiques, although they do find time for other types of reading -- Ralph tends to read business-related books, while Terry especially enjoys murder mysteries.

Good To Know

Ralph and Terry Kovel ("Kovel" rhymes with "Oh Hell!") have collected and worked together throughout their 50-plus-year marriage -- Yes, and they are still married! They have two married children and three granddaughters, all of whom live in 1950s houses.

Terry taught math at a boys' school. Ralph has been in the food business as a manufacturer and executive for years, which explains the 1890s country store in their basement.

The Kovels' strangest claim to fame: They once were offered as shopping companions as part of a prize on a Publishers Clearinghouse contest. They were the subject of a question on the TV game show Jeopardy, cited as experts on an episode of the TV series Northern Exposure, and mentioned in a murder mystery by Elmore Leonard.

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    1. Hometown:
      Shaker Heights, Ohio
    1. Education:
      Ralph Kovel: Ohio State University; Terry Kovel: Wellesley College

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